Alvin Louis Banks, a retired businessman and a co-founder of the NAC Charge Plan, one of the nation's first retail credit card companies, died Monday at Sinai Hospital of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 83.
Mr. Blank was born in Baltimore and raised on Towanda Avenue.
As a youngster, he worked with his two brothers and father, who owned a filling station near old Oriole Park in Waverly.
He was a 1943 graduate of City College and studied social work at the University of Maryland and later at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Mr. Blank and his two brothers, Raymond Blank and Morton Blank, got into the credit card business in 1953 when they asked merchants if they would like to have their names placed on a listing where customers could charge their purchases.
Founded as the Northern Acceptance Corp. " it was better known by the shorter title of NAC " it was the first local credit card company.
In 1965, NAC became a subsidiary of the now-defunct E.J. Korvette Inc., a discount department store chain, that operated a credit card business in the New York-New Jersey area as well as in Baltimore.
It later became known as Choice when Citibank
acquired the company in the late 1970s. During the 1980s, the card was linked with Visa and Master- Card.
After leaving the credit card business, Mr. Blank became a developer in the late 1970s when he established the Blank Group LLC, a commercial and residential development company, with his two sons.
Active in Democratic Party politics, Mr. Blank was a fundraiser for Gov. William Donald Schaefer in 1987. During the 1970s, he had been chairman of the Maryland Human Relations Commission and a member of the Governor's Task Force on Teen Pregnancy.
The longtime Pikesville resident, who had moved to Palm Springs, Calif., in 2001, returned to Baltimore last year when he moved into the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital.
He was a member of the Chestnut Ridge Country Club and Beth El Synagogue.
Services were Tuesday.
Surviving are his wife of 28 years, the former Rhona Olsan; two sons, Carny N. Blank of Orlando, Fla., and Steven J. Blank of Baltimore; a daughter, Robin D. Carlson of Ruxton; a brother, Raymond M. Blank of Fells Point; a stepson, Bennett Silver of Reisterstown; a stepdaughter, Debbye Lustig of Roslyn, N.Y.; and eight grandchildren. His marriage to Joan Winer ended in divorce.